Mumbai: School bus owners shut shop over loss of business due to COVID-19

Updated: May 24, 2020, 07:37 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Not only would vehicles be seized by banks because many have taken loans from banks, a huge number of them would not be able to run without staff such as drivers and cleaners, as many SBOA members are not able to pay their salaries

Schools have ended contracts with bus owners. Pic/Getty Images
Schools have ended contracts with bus owners. Pic/Getty Images

While there is no clarity on when schools would reopen, schools bus owners fear that they may not have vehicles to run when the need arises. As most schools are going digital and school bus fees were the first ones to be waived off by many, as children are not using the services, many schools have terminated the bus contracts.

The School Bus Owners Association (SBOA), which had earlier written to the government, requesting special attention, now believes that it will be difficult for many of the members to run school buses post lockdown. The association fears that around 15,000 of their vehicles would be out of business in the Mumbai region alone. Not only would vehicles be seized by banks because many have taken loans from banks, a huge number of them would not be able to run without staff such as drivers and cleaners, as many SBOA members are not able to pay their salaries.

Speaking about the issue, Anil Garg, president of the SBOA, said, "Schools have terminated contracts as they do not have money to pay our dues as they are not taking school bus fees from parents. But how are we supposed to sustain the business, especially when there is no clarity on when the schools are likely to reopen. Moreover, even if they do begin soon, there will be new guidelines like lesser number of children in one vehicle to ensure social distancing. This would mean drastic drop in revenue. Considering all this, many of us have been forced to shut our businesses."

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